THE Prime Minister’s performance, the prospect of more boredom in lockdown and the effect on mental health were the topics debated by columnists in the newspapers yesterday.

The Daily Mail

Henry Deedes watched Boris Johnson’s latest speech outlining the new three tier lockdown proposals on Monday night.

“Just when a dark, wet Monday couldn’t get more depressing, back we were in that drab Downing Street briefing room to hear about more rules, more regulations, more ruddy lockdown measures,” he said. “The PM’s voice shook with a sense of urgency. Boris’s delivery momentarily stuttered, his eyes whirring like little kaleidoscopes. Clearly he was terrified of getting his own rules wrong.”

He said Chancellor Rishi Sunak had joined Boris to share some of the load.

“It’s quite possible Boris felt the public might swallow his plan more easily with the boy wonder by his side,” he suggested. “Those Bambi eyes were turned up to full glare, beaming with sympathy. What a salesman the Chancellor is.”

He said the Prime Minister had laid out the new restrictions in the Commons earlier in the afternoon where his statement was ‘slow and solemn and levity was in short supply.’

“Most discomforting for the PM were the peevish voices on his own benches,” he added.

“The most sobering moment came when Steve Baker (Con, Wycombe) asked the PM when he expected a vaccine.

“ Boris replied that this ‘can’t be taken for granted’. So possibly never. Does make you wonder what the long-term plan is. If indeed there even is one.”

The Daily Express

Vanessa Feltz said she took some comfort from the news that the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were ‘bored witless’ at Balmoral.

“I wouldn’t normally wish a single second of tedium upon the monarch but somehow the phrase “they were sitting around twiddling their thumbs” applied to a 94 and 99-year-old tickled me delightfully,” she said. “Frankly we, their loyal subjects, have likewise reached the end of our creativity quotient.”

She said the nation had archived family snaps, besieged charity shops with unwanted clutter, and driven friends and family mad with Zoom calls when everyone really had nothing to say because they had not been anywhere.

“We’ve lagged the loft, harvested tomatoes, overdosed on banana bread and wondered whether to invest in a “feature wall”,” she said. “Now we are sitting at separate ends of the sofa in anticipation of several more months of the same old stuff, twiddling our proverbials just like the Royal couple.”

She said her dining room table had been propped up, legless, against a kitchen wall because the dining room was usually used for parties.

“It signified festivities, hospitality, fun, friendship, a few bevvies, great music and a house full of people with whom I love dancing the night away,” she said.

Last Friday, the table was put back in its rightful place.

“There is no point being permanently “party ready” when there is no chance of giving or attending a party.

“How do I feel? Put it like this: “It’s NOT my party and I’ll cry if I want to.”

The Guardian

Owen Jones said we are living in monochrome.

“The young being deprived of their best days; the old, denied the dignity and support they deserve in their later years; the millions who were already struggling with mental health even before the old world collapsed,” he said. “Many of us still retain a sense of guilt about talking about the impact the pandemic has had on our lives when so many others have suffered so much worse,” he said. “Everyone should feel entitled to open up about all we have lost since the “before times” disappeared in the middle of March.”

He said prevented from seeing the people and doing things we love was an assault on what makes us human.

“The most authoritarian peacetime measures in the history of democracy – combined with an unprecedented economic shock and the looming collapse in living standards – has produced a seismic mental health crisis,” he added.

“Ours is an age of necessary sacrifice, but that should not mean needless self-harm. As millions are caught once again in the ever-tightening vice of lockdown, it is a national conversation we need more than ever.”